NJ police bust teens in South Jersey during TikTok car theft challenge
🚗 Attempted auto theft linked to TikTok trend, police say
🚗 Three South Jersey juveniles arrested in latest incident
🚗 Targeted automakers have offered a free software update
Police in one South Jersey community busted three juveniles for trying to steal a car as part of a viral social media trend.
On Monday afternoon, police in Harrison Township responded to an apartment complex in the Mullica Hill area.
A woman reported that one juvenile had smashed a window on her parked 2013 Kia Soul and then damaged the steering wheel column, while the other two juveniles stood waiting.
The female owner set off her car’s alarm and the trio took off into a neighboring apartment complex.
Officers eventually rounded up all three individuals — a 12-year-old and 14-year-old from Mullica Hill and another 14-year-old from Gibbstown.
They were each charged with criminal attempt (burglary), criminal mischief, resisting and obstruction.
All three juveniles were released to their respective guardians, pending court appearances.
🚗 'Kia boys' social TikTok trend sparks stolen cars, including in NJ
Videos posted to social media, showing how “easy” it was to steal certain vehicles not equipped with an “immobilizer,” has prompted months of this illegal activity.
Young teens have often been the most attracted to the 'Kia boys' trend, according to federal authorities — which has ultimately led to more than a dozen crashes and several deaths, nationwide.
@nojumperA woman caught a kia boy red-handed trying to jack her car 😳 ♬ original sound - No Jumper Podcast
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin signed a joint letter in March, which pressed automakers to take aggressive actions against the problem.
In May, State Police joined efforts to give out free steering wheel locks in efforts to curb such attempted thefts.
Hyundai and Kia have also both developed theft deterrent software updates for millions of their vehicles.
Updates extend the length of the car’s audio alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and also require the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.
Owners of these vehicles can call either Hyundai (800-633-5151) or Kia (800-333-4542) for information on the free update.